Several of the UK’s leading insurance companies have backed a unique initiative designed to raise awareness of the importance of sport and exercise in the rehabilitation of claimants with life-changing injuries.
The ‘Stoke Mandeville Experience Day’ was devised by experts from Clyde & Co’s Spinal Injury Thematic Group in collaboration with WheelPowerthe UK’s national wheelchair sports charity, which is dedicated to enabling people with disabilities to enjoy sport and live healthy and active lives.
The event, which took place on October 19 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Buckinghamshire, brought together more than 70 insurance and legal professionals who heard first-hand from former and current Paralympians about the transformative power of sport. Attendees included Allianz, AXA, Aviva, Direct Line Group, MIB, QBE, Pen Underwriting and RSA.
Speakers included Martin McElhatton OBE, Paralympian and CEO of WheelPower, who competed in wheelchair basketball at the 1984 Paralympics, and Louise Sugden, Paralympic powerlifter, who won a bronze medal in Tokyo 2020 and has set her sights on competing in Paris 2024. .
During the day, WheelPower also invited teams to compete in sports including wheelchair basketball, badminton, sitting volleyball, bocce, archery and table tennis. As well as raising awareness of the physical and mental benefits of playing sport, the day helped raise more than £20,000 to support the work of WheelPower.
Speaking after the event, WheelPower CEO, Martin McElhatton, said: “We were delighted to deliver the Clyde & Co WheelPower Experience at Stoke Mandeville Stadium recently. It’s fantastic to see how positive Clyde & Co and their partners are in supporting people with spinal cord injuries and other life-changing injuries.
“Events like this help WheelPower’s work by providing sport and physical activity as part of rehabilitation. As someone who has personally benefited from the incredible physical, mental and social benefits of being involved in sport for over 30 years, it is vital that we continue to support people to be active and live full lives after a spinal injury.
Many of the trainees specialize in dealing with claims where individuals have suffered serious or life-changing injuries.
Gary Jackson, Head of Technical Claims – Motor & Casualty at Aviva, said: “The Stoke Mandeville event was a truly motivating and inspiring day, supporting the work of such a fantastic charity as WheelPower. It was so encouraging to see the positive effect that sport can have on people with disabilities and, in this case, wheelchair users.
“It was particularly poignant given the work done by those present and further reminded the insurance community that there is a seriously injured person on the other side of an accident.”
Adam Law, commercial manager – property, told Pen Underwriting: “Hosting a wheelchair sports day raises awareness of disability rights, accessibility and the importance of inclusive sport. It helps break down stereotypes and misconceptions about disability, promoting a more inclusive and accepting society. It also serves as an advocacy platform, highlighting the need for accessible facilities, equal opportunities and support for people with disabilities.”
The day’s venue was particularly significant as Stoke Mandeville Stadium is globally recognized as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement and will be the torch lighting venue for all future Paralympic Games in Paris 2024.
Mike Dobson, Partner at Clyde & Co added: “We were delighted that so many insurers and legal professionals could join us for what was an educational and energetic event. It was great to see so many participants unleashing their competitive sides while raising vital funds for WheelPower to continue to empower people with disabilities to enjoy active lifestyles through accessible sports.”
Clyde & Co has over 300 solicitors specializing in catastrophic injury claims and the casualty firm works with 95% of the general insurance market. The company plans to repeat the initiative, with work already underway for next year’s event, which will coincide with the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
The event was kindly sponsored by Bush & Co, Tessa Gough Associates, 12 King’s Bench Walk, 39 Essex Chambers, Farrar’s Building, Deans’ Court, Cobden House and Crown Office Chambers.